I can hardly believe that Sean is turning two years old in exactly a month! He was born on October 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm. This is my birth story as I remember it today.
It was just a regular Tuesday morning. I realized that I was 39 weeks along today, exactly. Charles had gone to work and I had a 10 am therapy appointment. Everything was just like any other day in recent weeks. As I was driving in to Pasadena for my appointment I wondered, would my baby be born soon or not for 3 weeks? What labor would feel like? I wonder if I’ll ever get the stereotypical huge ‘Are you having twins or something?’ belly. I was bummed that another weekend had come and gone and we hadn’t yet gotten our act together and set up the special birthing tub we’d rented. I noticed I was having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, which were totally normal for me. I noted the time intervals. By the time I got to the building, I had had 3 contractions. “Hey,” I thought, “Three in just about 30 minutes… How funny. That’s the first time I’ve ever noticed any kind of pattern or regularity to them. Well, it’s probably just a fluke.” During my 50 minute appointment, I counted 4 or 5 more, spread out pretty evenly. I still felt fine- Braxton-Hicks are just a tightening of the uterus- to me it they always felt like my belly was shifting from it’s regular, softer, more egg-shaped from into a basketball sticking out of my front. Looked and felt odd but not painful. I drove on home.
I usually get home by about 11:15 and I can’t even remember what I did then. I know I was obsessively timing my contractions most of the time and wondering if this was IT. I still wasn’t even sure if I was approaching real labor or not. I may have grabbed some lunch. I honestly can’t remember. The contractions still weren’t painful and I was like- sweet! this isn’t going to be so bad- maybe. That is, until the first painful one hit. At some point in there, I had called the midwife to see what she thought. She suggested having Charles come home from work. I knew it was game on.
I think I called Charles around 1:30 pm but he didn’t even get the message until school got out for the day. Lucky for me, he didn’t have a 6th period class AND he remembered to check to see if I’d called or left a message. He was able to get home by about 3. Meanwhile, I had gotten in the tub. I was just trying to rest, stay as comfortable as possible in between contractions, eat a bit and drink some water. I mean, who knew if this was going to take 97 hours or something?? That’s what I remember thinking anyway. I was sort of relieved when Charles got home- at least I wasn’t alone anymore. But honestly, by then I was already in a ‘don’t want to deal with other people’ stage. Charles began frantically trying to set up the birthing tub. Other people came- the midwives, my mom, and sis (Who, little did I know at the time, was newly pregnant with her second child and dealing secretly with morning sickness- poor thing! Props to her.).
After a poor experience trying to find an OB, I was increasingly excited about the idea of having a home birth. We originally looked into options like a birthing center but then we thought, if you’re going to go somewhere where you’re not comfortable, it might a well be a hospital with all the ‘just in case’ equipment! I loved the idea of a Certified Nurse-Midwife, especially since I was in an advanced practice nursing program myself at the time. Support the peeps! We eventually found Margo Kennedy, CNM. The first time I met her, she reminded me of my aunts and I felt comfortable and listened to. (Unlike the OB who was like, ‘This is what I’m going to do. I operate out of here, so you’ll come there to deliver. Oh, p.s. Is that ok with you? Of course, you don’t have a choice!’ Well, maybe not word for word. Except for the first half. Yeah.)
By the time anyone from the midwife’s team got to our house, I was lost- ‘in the zone.’ I was barely aware of what was going on except for every once in awhile. I hadn’t even met the other two who would help with he birth. I remember Charles coming in the bathroom and asking me if they could come in to say hello and all I could think was, “I’m naked in the bath tub! I don’t really want to be introduced to strangers right now.” Then I was totally worried that they would think I was rude or something so I said ok. It was kinda uncomfortable, but I almost didn’t even care anymore. I have heard that’s a sign that labor is progressing.
It seemed for a time that everyone was trying to help Charles out with the birthing tub setup. I was content enough chillin’ in the bath tub. Unfortunately, I soon started to get cold for reals. This was because they’d asked me not to use any more hot water so we could save it to fill the other tub once it was up. Long story short, the tub got up but never got filled or used because we couldn’t find a way to get the water from the heater to the tub itself. Doh! I guess there were all kinds of valiant efforts, during which one of our kitties escaped out an open window, and all kinds of adventures ensued. To warm up the bathtub, they tried to boil pots of water — how classic birthing is that??–and dump them in on me –DO NOT ATTEMPT– no matter how good an idea it may seem. It stressed me out and I got a little burned on my leg and sadly, I was still uncomfortably cold. But that’s ok, I had to get out shortly anyway. When the midwife checked me next, I was already 8 cm dilated!
Check back tomorrow for part two!! =)